In the mid-to-late 1940’s, as the war ended and the baby boom started booming, families left behind the daily grind for a little bit of the leisure life at the beach or the new popular resorts. Fortunately, the fashion world came to the rescue with a new line of fun and sun resort wear, tailor-made for the whole family.
Built specifically for the suburban family to get away from it all, the beach set was the only thing to wear at the water. Cavorting around the beach in only a pair of trunks or swimsuit was fine for the water, but as soon as one exited, a cover-up was needed. And not just any old towel or pair of shorts would do: even on holiday you had to keep up appearances and look perfectly put together.
Boys were given miniature versions of Dad’s trunk and tops, and girls had Mom’s bathing suit and skirt. Nautical themes were popular, and it was common for girls to look like mom, and boys to look like dad in identical outfits. The beach set guaranteed a stylishly simple plan for all your leisure needs, and fun for the whole family.
A popular boys’ look was a two-piece outfit of swimming trunks and short-sleeved top, both lined with a towel-like terrycloth material. The terry lining insured quick-drying style instead of a washed up, all wet look. And when Dad enjoyed a highball by the pool in his matching set, well, your beach set made you feel all grown up too.
Ladies had their own beach set, usually a skirt that attached to the one-piece swimsuit that turned it into a sporty style dress, ‘suitable from pool to patio’ as it was advertised. Now one could be perfectly prim and lady-like, even on vacation.
It wouldn't be until the late 50's, and the rise of surf movies like Gidget and Frankie and Annette's Beach Party series, that kids would break away from the traditional confines of their parents’ waterwear. Once bikinis and boardshorts hit the beach, sunwear was funwear.
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